Archie v. Unemployment Compen. Bd. of Rev., 032706 PACCA, 2018 CD 2005

Docket Nº:2018 CD 2005
Party Name:Archie v. Unemployment Compen. Bd. of Rev.
Case Date:March 27, 2006
Court:Court of Appeals of Pennsylvania
 
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Marlene Archie, Petitioner

v.

Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent

No. 2018 C.D. 2005

Court of Appeals of Pennsylvania

March 27, 2006

       Submitted: January 20, 2006

       BEFORE: HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge

       OPINION

       MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge

       Marlene Archie (Claimant) petitions for review of an adjudication of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying her claim for unemployment compensation benefits. The Board, affirming the decision of the Referee, found that Claimant’s employer, Arcadia University, gave her reasonable assurance of a teaching assignment for the fall semester, rendering her ineligible for unemployment compensation.

       The background to this case is as follows. Claimant began working for Arcadia University (Employer) in August 2002 as a part-time adjunct professor, teaching two courses for the English Department during the fall and spring semesters. Claimant worked for Employer during the spring semester of 2005, which began on January 28, 2005, and ended on May 10, 2005. On May 9, 2005, Employer’s English Department Chair notified Claimant by mail that she was looking forward to Claimant’s return to the school in the upcoming fall semester to teach the two courses, “assuming the enrollments are sufficient to run the class sections.” Certified Record (C.R.), Item No. 9, SL-12.1Claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits on May 1, 2005, for the weeks ending May 7, 2005, and May 14, 2005. The Philadelphia UC Service Center determined that Claimant was ineligible for benefits under Section 402.1(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).2Claimant appealed, and a hearing was held before a Referee on July 19, 2005.

       At the hearing, Employer offered the testimony of Lorraine Yearicks, its senior human resources representative. Yearicks testified that prior to each semester, Claimant received a contract for the upcoming semester that indicated the courses Claimant would be teaching, the number of credits, the salary and method of payment. Claimant’s fall semester contracts were dated August 20, 2002,3August 18, 2003, and August 2, 2004, respectively. However, Yearicks stated that, as of the date of the July 19, 2005, hearing, Employer had not sent Claimant a contract for the fall semester of 2005, because, as had been stated in the May 9, 2005, letter, Employer did not yet know whether student enrollment would be sufficient.

       Claimant also testified. She stated that she learned in April 2005 that there might be some changes to the Claimant’s course load and schedule. Initially, Claimant was unclear as to whether the changes would affect the number of courses she would teach in the future or simply the time slots for her regularly scheduled courses. However, Claimant stated later in her testimony that the Department Chair informed her that “it was possible that I’d have one course at least…. That decision wouldn’t be made until later.” Notes of Testimony, July 19, 2005, at 7. Claimant offered into evidence an email sent to her from the Chair dated May 23, 2005, which stated, as follows:

For Fall 2005: Most likely, we can offer you an EN 101 section and an EN 229 section. As you know, the hiring of adjunct faculty is always contingent on sufficient enrollment in not only the courses to be taught by adjunct faculty but also courses of full-time faculty.

C.R. Item No. 9, SL-13. Claimant concluded by stating that the Chair was unable to provide her with a concrete schedule for the fall semester of 2005.

       The Referee affirmed the determination of the UC Service Center, finding that Employer provided Claimant with reasonable assurance that she would be teaching in the next academic term as she had in the most recent academic term. Because Employer had provided reasonable assurance of a teaching position, Claimant was found ineligible for benefits. Claimant appealed, and the Board affirmed. Claimant now petitions this Court for review.4

       On appeal, Claimant raises three issues for our consideration, which are consolidated for purposes of clarity. Claimant contends that Employer did not provide Claimant with reasonable assurance of reemployment for the fall semester of 2005 because (1) the economic terms and conditions of the job offered in the second term were substantially less than the terms and conditions for the job in the first term, and (2) Employer’s offer was not a bona fide offer but mere speculation that Claimant would be reemployed.

       Section 402.1(1) of the Law bars an instructional employee...

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